For this baby boomer, travel no longer holds an al­lure

Edmonton Journal - - YOU - SHEL­LEY FRALIC shel­

OK, here goes: I hate trav­el­ling.

It’s out­right boomer heresy to say so, for if the world has been our oys­ter, as we are in­ter­minably re­minded, why on Earth would any­one so blessed be so cav­a­lier in shuck­ing off the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore it fully?

Af­ter all, travel is meant to en­rich us, en­lighten us, ex­pose us to cul­ture and hu­man­ity and the il­lu­mi­na­tion that as a peo­ple, de­spite our dif­fer­ences from one bor­der to the next, we are one. To travel, goes the in­cul­ca­tion, is to ex­pe­ri­ence life.

Blah. Blah. Blah.

Here’s why I hate it. Not that I al­ways did. Just that I do now.

Where once planes, trains and au­to­mo­biles were the pass­port to new ad­ven­tures, to­day the skies, rails and roads no longer hold that mag­i­cal lure to un­charted ter­ri­tory.

Get­ting there, get­ting any­where, is now mostly a crush­ing chore. Se­cu­rity checks, pat­downs, un­ruly masses, pricey hotels, cramped air­less planes, trashy trin­kets, bed bugs, jammed free­ways, pick­pock­ets and armed guards. Why would I want to sleep in a bed, much less on a pil­low, pre­vi­ously used by hun­dreds of strangers? And when was it ever safe to go out in the woods?

So to say this with­out sound­ing spoiled and crotch­ety: Travel is ex­haust­ing. And just not fun any­more.

But that’s just me. My best friend is im­bued with life­long wan­der­lust, and her cu­rios­ity and pro­fes­sion have taken her most ev­ery­where on the planet, from the cities of Kaza­khstan to the jun­gles of Bor­neo.

She is my travel con­science, stir­ring up my guilt at not want­ing to ex­pand my lim­ited hori­zons, and to that end, she’s al­ways try­ing to coax me along. Some­times, she’s even suc­cess­ful, and I have climbed on­board as we traipsed off to Lon­don and Paris, Nova Sco­tia and Puerto Val­larta, for they were won­der­ful trips all.

And I am eter­nally grate­ful for those ex­pe­ri­ences, and for her shame­less at­tempts at trick­ing me into oth­ers like it, for I am noth­ing but lucky to have such a friend.

But I am done with the trav­el­ling.

It’s eas­ier to say so, of course, be­cause I have clocked many miles in my 67 years, hav­ing tra­versed much of Canada, the U.S. and Europe. There has been Mex­ico and Hawaii and even the North Pole.

I have wan­dered through Ge­or­gia O’keeffe’s house in Abiquiú, stum­bled on a wild po­lar bear in Churchill, slept on a Mykonos beach, eaten curry on Carn­aby

Street, blasted through the Ever­glades on an air­boat, wolfed down cod cheeks in New­found­land, floated along the Seine, and com­muned un­der­wa­ter with a man­a­tee in Florida.

I have seen the Mona Lisa, Rosetta Stone and the Smith­so­nian’s mag­nif­i­cent T-rex.

I have humbly traced my fin­ger on the names etched into the Viet­nam Veter­ans Memo­rial, and sat in hushed si­lence on the edge of the hole where once stood the Twin Tow­ers.

I have stretched out in Elvis Pres­ley’s sauna and shared fresh baguettes and red wine with my late ex-hus­band on a top­less beach in Nice.

But I have never been to In­dia, Scan­di­navia, China, the Mid­dle East, Africa, South­east Asia, Rus­sia, South Amer­ica or Aus­tralia. And I’m OK with that.

Per­haps it’s my creep­ing sense of mor­tal­ity, some­thing bliss­fully un­fa­mil­iar to the 20-some­things, whose world rightly seems so much big­ger than it re­ally is.

Per­haps I never em­braced the pop­u­lar ro­man­ti­cism of round­ing a dif­fer­ent cor­ner or, as I grow older, I just pre­fer the sim­plic­ity of rou­tine and the com­fort of home.

So, even as the world be­gins to awaken from its lat­est cri­sis, even as in­ter­na­tional bor­ders are repo­si­tion­ing their wel­come mats, I will mostly stay put (al­though I will never give up Palm Springs), in­stead fall­ing back on the best mem­o­ries of trav­els past.

For it’s time now to leave dis­cov­ery to those who fol­low in my foot­steps, to those for whom parts un­known lie tan­ta­liz­ingly ahead.

Where once planes, trains and au­to­mo­biles were the pass­port to new ad­ven­tures, to­day the skies, rails and roads no longer hold that mag­i­cal lure to un­charted ter­ri­tory. Shel­ley Fralic


For Shel­ley Fralic, third from left, travel is now more ex­haust­ing than a fun ad­ven­ture. She’s seen here with friends in Paris in 2011.

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